Larne man Norman abandons world-record attempt

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A Larne cancer-survivor has been forced to throw in the towel in his bid to become the first person to fly around the world in a gyrocopter.

Intrepid adventurer Norman Surplus set out from Larne’s Sandy Bay in 2010 with a dream of setting a new world record in his little yellow flying machine, Roxy.

He has since blazed a trial across half the globe, traversing more than a dozen countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and most recently Japan.

The father-of-two, who survived bowel cancer back in 2003, is using the publicity from his trip to raise awareness and funds for Bowel Cancer UK.

However, Norman’s epic quest has been at a standstill for the past two years, with the Russian Civil Aviation Authorities refusing him permission to fly over their airspace.

With Roxy grounded in a Japan, Norman has been working tirelessly to convince the Russian authorities to lift the blockade and allow his journey to continue.

But his efforts have ultimately proved fruitless, and Norman has this week made the difficult decision to abandon his world record attempt.

A devastated Norman told the Times: “I am very disappointed having spent so long holding out for and pursuing what now seems an almost impossible goal.

“Keeping my focus on this goal for so long has been a tremendous mental challenge and maintaining the aircraft in a state of legal readiness to fly, over so many years in countries so far from home, has also been a technical and logistical challenge like no other I have ever faced before.

“It feels that I have stretched all sections of my life to the limit and then some; almost to breaking point in some instances.

“I am very much indebted to my family, work colleagues and friends who have been so supportive in the face of what seems at times to be such an insurmountable challenge.”

However, while Norman’s dream is now in tatters, there may still be scope for the expedition to continue.

Norman added: “There are two options available; put Roxy in a container and ship her home, or ship her to the west coast of America and continue my flight.

“Several records could be set along the way, including the first ever autogyro crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

“I am currently in two minds of what to do.”

What do you think Norman’s next move should be? Should he simply call it day, or should he continue his global adventure?

Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @Larne_TimesSG